Appropriations and Reconciliation Negotiations Inch Forward – Take Action Today!

With the U.S. House of Representatives out of session from May 2 to May 10, few developments have been reported regarding the status of negotiations over a fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget since appropriations leaders in the House and Senate met on April 28 (see Memo, 5/2). Even so, hopes remain high that Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) will reach an agreement on spending levels for each of the 12 FY23 appropriations bills – known as “302(b) allocations” – before Memorial Day.

Absent an agreement on 302(b) levels, House appropriators will likely still move forward with the appropriations process using President Biden’s FY23 budget request as a spending benchmark. Draft spending bills are expected to be released in the House as soon as June, with committee votes on the bills as soon as July. With both Chair Leahy and Ranking Member Shelby retiring, appropriators are motivated to finalize an FY23 spending agreement before the end of the year and avoid a long-term delay.

NLIHC and our partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) are leading our annual 302(b) letter to demand that Congress provide the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY23. Advocates should contact their members of Congress and urge them to support significant funding for NLIHC’s top priorities:

  • $32.13 billion for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program to renew all existing contracts and expand housing vouchers to an additional 200,000 households.
  • $5.125 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund to preserve public housing, and $5.06 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund.
  • $3.6 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
  • $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
  • $300 million for the competitive tribal housing program, targeted to tribes with the greatest needs.

The appropriations process is vital to ensuring continued and expanded funding for HUD’s affordable housing programs. However, budget reconciliation – which allows the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than the 60 votes typically required in the chamber – represents the best opportunity to secure the bold, large-scale investments in affordable housing needed to address the severe lack of deeply affordable rental homes.

While President Biden and congressional Democrats work to revive reconciliation negotiations, there is continuing concern that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), the sole Democratic opponent of the “Build Back Better Act” in the Senate, will not return to the negotiating table. Senator Manchin has met twice with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss the possibility of a bipartisan bill to address climate change. Some members of Congress fear that attempting to negotiate a bipartisan climate deal – which is unlikely to advance this year – will distract from and further delay reconciliation discussions. The potential for the Senate to take action on passing a bill codifying abortion rights into law may also delay reconciliation negotiations.

Senator Manchin maintains that any future reconciliation package should focus on increasing federal revenues by changing the tax code and using those revenues to fight inflation and draw down the federal deficit. The cost of housing is the single largest component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a popular measure of inflation, and addressing the rising cost of housing is central to decreasing inflationary pressure on households, especially in the long term. It is vital that Congress include in any reconciliation package the significant funding for targeted affordable housing investments included in the Build Back Better Act, including the HoUSed campaign’s top priorities:

  • $25 billion to expand housing vouchers to more than 300,000 households.
  • $65 billion to preserve public housing for its 2 million residents.
  • $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build, preserve, and operate more than 150,000 units of affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes.

Take Action

Advocates should contact their senators and representatives to urge them to support the highest funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs in the FY23 spending bill and any budget reconciliation package. Use our call-in script to help create your own message to Congress!

Organizations can also take action for increased federal affordable housing investments: